How to (not?) version your product

I spend a fairly decent amount of time working with marketing teams. Mostly, the impact on a product UX is minimal. It’s typically all about branding, but sometimes the most heated discussions and debates occur when the topic is versioning. Believe it or not, versioning can have a big impact on UX. Recently, for a new major product feature, there’s been a lot of back-and-forth over whether it’s a major release or a minor release, and what the heck to call the release! There’s all this talk about “have to be consistent” and “we called the last one 13.2 so this one has to be 14” and so forth. Meh.

During this intellectual discourse (ha!), I’m reminded of how one software goliath has versioned the last few releases of one of their more widely-used product offerings (forgive me if the order isn’t 100% accurate, it really doesn’t matter):

  • Windows 3.1
  • Windows 95
  • Windows Me
  • Windows NT
  • Windows 2000
  • Windows XP
  • Windows Vista
  • Windows 7

Well, that’s consistent. Any questions?